By Bruce Levine–
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (CBS) — Showing his lighter side at the GM meetings, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn joked with a few reporters, “What’s the next headline you need?”READ MORE: RealTime Weather Alert: Wet and Windy Through Monday Morning, Flooding Possible
The comment was made in the context of the White Sox moving in a different direction this offseason ahead of 2017. Make no mistake about it: They’re in full revamp mode.
Now, does that mean the new direction of acquiring younger, contract-controllable position players will happen in one offseason? Probably not. Does it mean ace left-hander Chris Sale will be moved to the first team that makes a significant offer? Again, probably not.
But the handwriting is on the wall for a change of approach.
“None of our players are untouchable,” Hahn said. “We have an obligation to listen on everybody. At the end, it’s about feeling we get back fair value in exchange and did something that makes long-term sense for the organization. There may be a heightened sense in the marketplace that this time there is a greater chance of a deal (for the White Sox) than in years past. We will always listen and evaluate our options.”
The White Sox aren’t teasing their fan base. They know the fans won’t support anything but a solid team, with a baseball pedigree to go along with it.
Having contract control of a youthful group of good position player is the long-term goal, because that can lay the foundation for sustained success.READ MORE: Man, Woman Shot In Vehicle On Kedzie Avenue In East Garfield Park, Go On To Crash In Humboldt Park With Child In Car
“Once we see things coming together we will answer questions about how broad our moves will be and who will be affected,” Hahn said. “Until you start making moves, I think it’s foolhardy to speculate on how things will look on the other side of it.”
So does one big deal have to be made to put the White Sox in full-blown retooling mode?
“The pace and magnitude of any of our moves, regardless of the direction, will be dictated by the marketplace,” Hahn said. “You can’t say you are going to trade player X before we do anything else, because it might not be the right time to get proper value. We are in a position now where we have a few player assets under contract control for only another year (Todd Frazer, Melky Cabrera, Brett Lawrie). So there may be a kind of clock on them. On guys who are more controllable than that, there is less urgency until you peaked out on assets back for the long-term benefit of the club.”
The retooling of the White Sox future always begins with owner Jerry Reinsdorf. Like any good baseball man, he finally came to the conclusion that trying to replace individual pieces every season was futile. The team has finished under.500 for four consecutive seasons.
Hahn admitted to having ongoing conversations with other front offices for at least two weeks. With an extremely weak free-agent pitching class, the trading market should be at a peak this fall for the White Sox.
“These meetings help with further conversations with more face-to-face talks,” Hahn said. “You can spend more time with people and get a little more specific on players. We have taken that opportunity to sit down with a handful of teams and also have conversations with agents. This will hopefully move us closer in the direction we want to go.”MORE NEWS: Riggs, Kenosha County Sheriff's K-9 Shot By Chicago Homicide Suspect, Is Released From Veterinary Hospital To Applause
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.